Author: BlaiseP

BlaiseP is the pseudonym of a peripatetic software contractor whose worldly goods can fit into an elderly Isuzu Rodeo. Bitter and recondite, he favors the long view of life, the chords of Steely Dan and Umphrey's McGee, the writings of William Vollman and Thomas Pynchon, the taste of red ale and his own gumbo. Having escaped after serving seven years of a lifetime sentence to confinement in hotel rooms, he currently resides in the wilds of Eau Claire County and contemplates the intersection of mixed SRID geometries in PostGIS.
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Some Kind of Mixture: Lou Reed

Aristotle said there is no great genius without a mixture of madness. Lou Reed was more madman than genius but the genius part irrevocably changed rock and roll.

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Mullah Nasreddin: Persian parables for our times

Precis: President Hassan Rouhani arrived back in Iran to a mixed reception: praise from most, but thrown shoes and eggs from some. President Rouhani has the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ali Khameini: the...

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The Cleric and the Bombers: Iran’s Hassan Rouhani

Precis: In a crucial moment of opportunity, Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, extends the hand of diplomacy. President Obama’s team, surprised and gratified, grasp for Rouhani’s hand. If the handshake pans out, this rapprochement...

136

Grand Old Party Needs a Brand New Song

The College Republican National Committee has published a rueful assessment of the GOP, commencing with the pull quote taken from a focus group: “I would say your image is all wrong”. That’s only the...

4

For the whole earth is their sepulchre.

The Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial lies at a curve in the Moselle River as it winds through the Vosges Mountains. Epinal is the final resting place of 5,255 American military dead, most of...

6

No Automatic Harmony: Kenneth Waltz

“In anarchy, there is no automatic harmony.” Kenneth Waltz wrote unpleasant truths about the world and lived long enough to see the vindication of his positions. His book, Man, the State and War, and...

10

Under a Field of Flowers: Captain Emil Kapaun

Somewhere in Korea, along the banks of the Yalu River, the mortal remains of Captain Emil Kapaun lie in an unmarked grave under a field of flowers alongside the bodies of the prisoners of...

18

The Centre Cannot Hold: Chinua Achebe

Cowering in the back of my father’s little Peugeot sedan, I watched a mob of Hausa hack an Igbo man to pieces the day the Biafran War began in earnest. My father’s Igbo students...

22

The Seated Woman: a Tuareg poem

By request, another poem by Souéloum Diagho. A few words of explanation: Diagho’s poems contain words with doubled meanings, especially the word “cour”, which can mean courtship or enclosed space. Boegiboe helpfully observes the...

14

The Great Nations: a Tuareg Poem

The poet Souéloum Diagho is from Tessalit in the North of Mali. His father is Tamashek, his mother Fula. He writes in the tradition of the controversial eighth century Arabic poet Ghaylan ibn ‘Uqbah....

94

Valve on Linux

Valve Corporation, a video game maker based in Bellevue Washington, has rejected Windows 8 and is now promoting Ubuntu Linux. It will come as no news to most of the League, but Valve Corporation...

33

A House is a Grave: Sahel situation analysis.

A man lives in his wife’s tent: a house is a grave. -Tuareg proverb Précis: as the first phase of the Mali conflict winds down, we see a partial recapitulation of other guerrilla wars...

34

The Dream of Azawad.

Precis: While no two wars ought to be compared to each other, the latest flare-up in Mali is only the latest jihaadist insurgency in the Sahel, going back into antiquity. In its turn, the...

25

Egypt post-election: now what?

Egypt’s Islamists have long prayed for a constitution around which to build their Muslim paradise. Now they have their constitution and the country’s money is fleeing. Morsi kept saying things would get better once...

7

Thoughts on Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum

This post is in large measure a summary of yesterday’s discussion hosted by Tamara Cofman Wittes, Director at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, with Khaled Elgindy, a fellow at the Saban Center,...

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Before the Gate of Hell

The NRA has gone mute: they’ve just cancelled their big NRA Country concert, to have been headlined by the aptly named Colt Ford. Other voices have only grown louder: Rush Limbaugh claims the Liberals...

74

The Arab Winter: amateur hour in Cairo

Precis: Egypt’s new constitution is a contradictory mess. Mohamed Morsi has made an autocratic botch of his slim mandate. The Egyptian military council (SCAF) bides its time, appointing regional governors, conducting secret trials, its...

20

Messing with Market Forces: the evolution of competition.

Precis: Markets arise from competition. Antitrust law arises from the need for competition. Intellectual Property laws ought to protect the rights of those who create ideas. This essay arose from Roger’s comment about competition...

3

Jacques Barzun: the Cheerful Pessimist

With the death of Jacques Barzun passes away a paragon of human intellect and a great friend of America. His oft-quoted line “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better...

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